A group of Byron shire women calling themselves the Byron Mermaids have begun sewing reusable shopping bags in an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags being used.
The Mermaids held a rally last month calling on the state government to ban plastic bags in NSW, and also took part in a ministerial roundtable earlier this year on the subject.
But as there has ‘not been a peep from the powers-that-be in Sydney, the Byron Mermaids are now taking the matter into their own hands.
The ‘Boomerang Bags’ they are now producing are designed to replace plastic bags, and will be available in local shops for people to borrow and bring back.
Boomerang Bags is a Surfrider Foundation campaign that has been championed by two women in Burleigh Heads and is now thriving.
Inspired by their success, the Byron Mermaids got in touch to adopt the tangible solution for the Byron community.
The idea is to get a team of volunteers together to sew reusable bags from donated fabric.
They say it takes 5,000 bags to launch the effort in a community, in order to account for the many transients and tourists who are not expected to return the Boomerang Bags for reuse.
By flooding the markets and shops with reusable bags, the local community will have no choice but to reach for reusables when faced with the free alternative to single-use plastic bags.
As a part of Plastic Free July, the group held their sewing session at Patagonia Byron Bay recently.
Owner, Glen Casey is a supporter of the mermaids’ activism and the local environmental campaigns.
The sewing machines were all donated by community members, including one of Mr Casey’s employees.
The sewing skills were taught by two sisters, Charlotte and Eloise Ashford Meehan, who are the designers behind the fashion label Rode to No Wear –all hand-made high end clothing, here in Byron Bay.
The fabric was donated by community, including a large portion from a vintage clothing label Second Loves.
The Byron Mermaids are hosting the next sewing session on Sunday 31 July at Patagonia Byron Bay from 1-5 pm.
They could use more sewing machines, thread, fabric, and helping hands.